House of
Assembly Motion
Regarding the

Passed Unanimously

18 November 1999

Text of the Motion


This House -

(1) Reaffirms the view it has always held that the people of Gibraltar have and are entitled to exercise the inalienable right to self-determination as provided for by the Charter and Resolutions of the United Nations and that this is not affected by the Treaty of Utrecht.


Notes that the United Kingdom now holds the view that the right of the Gibraltarians to self-determination is constrained or curtailed by the provisions of the Treaty of Utrecht even though in 1964 the British representative at the United Nations told the United Nations that his Government "does not accept that there is any commitment under the Treaty of Utrecht binding us to refrain from applying the principle of self determination to the people of Gibraltar, ... And completely rejects the attempts by the Government of Spain to establish that there is any conflict between the exercise of self determination by the people of Gibraltar and the provisions of the Treaty of Utrecht."


Notes that the Kingdom of Spain holds the view that the provisions of the Treaty of Utrecht deprive Gibraltarians of the right to self-determination,


Whilst totally confident of the correctness of the position that it has always maintained and of the position articulated by the UK at the United Nations in 1964 considers that all sides must benefit, regardless of their political positions, from clarification of applicable international legal principles.


Notes and welcomes the fact that the Government of Gibraltar has sought a further legal opinion on these and related questions from an international law expert and that the final opinion is expected shortly.


Notes that this and the previous Government have requested the UN itself to refer these questions to the International Court of Justice for an advisory opinion.


Notes with regret that only the parties to an international treaty and the United Nations itself can seek such an advisory opinion on the validity, meaning and effect of a treaty provision and that it therefore appears that the Gibraltar Government itself lacks the legal right and standing to petition the court,


Therefore calls on Her Majesty's Government and the UN or either of them to refer to the International Court of Justice for an advisory opinion, the question whether the Treaty of Utrecht now restrains or curtails the rights to self determination of the people of Gibraltar.

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